One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re evaluating healthy eating plans is moderation. It’s very unlikely that any eating plan that’s truly healthy will go to any extremes. It should stress moderation in all things, not just in the balance of food eaten but in the amounts, too.
For instance, some diets that are marketed as healthy eating plans make claims that should alert you to their problems. A diet that says you can eat unlimited amounts of almost anything probably isn’t really all that healthy. One extreme example is a low-carbohydrate diet. Many low-carb diets can be healthy for certain people. But a few of the low-carb diets entice people to try them by talking about how you can eat all your favorite foods.
These supposedly healthy eating plans claim you can eat cheeseburgers, steaks, cheesecakes, and a variety of other foods. And often they’ll say that you can eat all you want of these foods and still lose weight. They’re operating on the assumption that you’ll eat one or two cheeseburgers (without bread, of course), be full, and stop. But they do make the claim that you can eat all of them, essentially all the fat, you want and still lose weight.
That should be a signal to you that something’s wrong. No diet that allows all the fat you want to eat can be truly healthy. And if it allows unlimited amounts of saturated fat, in particular, it’s probably unhealthy. Other healthy eating plans you’ll see advertised go the opposite direction and limit the amount of fat you can eat down to almost none while allowing almost any kind of bread, pasta, and other foods like low-fat cookies and desserts that contain a lot of simple carbohydrates and sugar.
While low-fat cookies or cakes might be a nice treat on a low-fat diet now and then, they certainly can’t be eaten all the time. That would make the sugar content of the diet decidedly unhealthy. But that ability to eat low-fat sweet treats is often what’s used to convince people to follow the diet because they can still have sugar and desserts.
When you’re judging healthy eating plans, checking what’s allowed on the diet is important. But checking what isn’t allowed is important, too. Moderation works both ways. A diet that tells you that you must give up coffee completely or never again eat any kind of bread is taking that limitation to the extreme. And if you like coffee or bread and still intend to have them at least now and then, each time you do you’ll feel like you’re cheating. No one wants to have bad feelings about what they’re eating or drinking.
Choosing from among the diets out there can be daunting. Choose a plan that doesn’t necessarily forbid you from eating anything, and doesn’t allow unlimited amounts of anything, either. Choose from among the more moderate healthy eating plans, and you’re more likely to find the healthiest ones for you.